Parashat Emor // “Speak”

- ה ה ה -

Who is the guardian of God’s name on earth?

We must be careful to not desecrate our honor or that of otherswhether through thought or action 

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people…They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God” Leviticus 21:6

  • Our duty is to sanctify life. The first step is to stop desecrating and undermining ourselves and others. We must be extremely careful before any action, thought, or intention. Caution is the key to holiness. Diligence and wariness are key to achieving the highest spiritual level. Judaism calls for self – sacrifice – not for killing or hurting others, including ourselves.
  • Human beings are representatives of God on earth. Therefore, any action we take can either desecrate or sanctify God’s name. Immoral or wrongful acts are profanity. Conversely, good deeds elicit admiration and bring more light into the world. Indeed, our responsibility is enormous – the sanctity of God’s name lies in our hands

Our level of sanctity is not linked to our social status or lineage

“Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel, and that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me: I am the LORD…Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD” Leviticus 22:32 – 33

  • Though the bulk of the sacrificial services are entrusted to the priests and Levites, Maimonides asserts that: “Not only the tribe of Levi, but each well – informed thinking person whose spirit moves him to devote himself to the service of the Lord, to know the Lord, and has walked uprightly after casting off his neck the yoke of many a cunning wile that men contrived, is indeed divinely consecrated” (Mishneh Torah, Sabbatical Year and the Jubilee 13:13). In other words, our spiritual level is not defined by our social position, family background, or the place we live. Sanctity can be attained by any human

Pearls of Divine Wisdom: “Speak”

  • We all want our souls to become one with our ideal selves. To achieve this, we must perform kind deeds, thereby diminishing the rigor of divine judgment.
  • Any time we dwell on our shortcomings and become irritated or pessimistic, we open a gap between the imperfect and perfect versions of our soul.
  • This chasm can be bridged through optimism, appreciation of ourselves, and acceptance of others’ imperfections. Through this philosophy, we can relate to everything we encounter as a divine gift. Indeed, even our mistakes are blessings – because they teach us how important it is to perform good deeds and finally close that gap.
  • Sanctity can form in our hearts. To reach a level of sanctity, we must avoid humiliating and hurting others – including ourselves.
  • We are the earthly guardians of God’s name. Human beings are God’s representatives in this world. Therefore, any wrongdoing is tantamount to desecrating God’s name. Conversely, every righteous act inspires emulation and helps God’s light expand on earth.
  • Sanctity can be attained by all humans. The highest spiritual level is available to all – but access to it depends on our willpower.

There is order in both the natural and spiritual worlds; orderly studies and deeds are necessary for achieving self-improvement.